Khathwane explains that low-porosity hair doesn’t absorb moisture easily – no matter how much you moisturise it, the hair still feels dry. She adds that this hair type is difficult to relax, even when using a super-relaxer.
“This is because this hair type has closed cuticles, which makes it very difficult for moisture to penetrate or leave the hair,” she says.
If you aren’t sure if you have low-porosity hair, Khathwane recommends you place a strand of your hair in a glass of water. If the strand of hair floats at the top, it is low-porosity hair. If the hair sinks to the bottom, you have high-porosity hair and if it sinks to the middle of the glass, it is normal-porosity hair.
She adds that high-porosity hair is easily penetrated by products, but quickly loses that moisture. “The cuticles of high-porosity hair are open. Women with this hair would need to follow a regimen that seals moisture in, incorporating a leave-in conditioner and a sealant like a butter,” she says.
Khathwane points out that those with low porosity hair don’t necessarily have 4C hair. She adds that hair porosity is more important than type. “A lot of people spend a lot of time trying to figure out their hair type, but I believe it’s more valuable knowing the porosity of your hair because that determines the ability of your hair to absorb moisture and therefore the haircare regime you need to follow.”
Below are Khathwane’s top tips for moisturising low-porosity hair:
- Deep condition, with heat – “You have to use heat because this will lift the cuticles a bit to let moisture in. If you don’t have a heat cap or steamer, then use the baggy method.”
- According to AfroBotanics, “baggying” your hair means “applying a moisturiser like a leave-in conditioner to your hair, then covering your hair with a plastic cap and a beanie or scarf before going to sleep. This creates a humid environment, which forces your hair to absorb moisture”.
- Clarify – With this hair type, it’s not just about washing the hair, but clarifying it of any build-up or dirt from products or the environment, she says. “You can’t be a co-wash person if you have low-porosity hair – you need to use a proper clarifying shampoo.”
- Use an oil to seal – “Once the hair is moisturised, you don’t have to use a butter to seal it. You can use a leave-in conditioner and then a lightweight oil to seal the moisture,” she says.
- Use products with a humectant – Khathwane recommends using products that have humectants like glycerine and honey, as they help hair retain moisture.